Coach who has tutored Olympians takes over lead of Great Miami Rowing, hopes to expand

Marc Oria, originally from Spain, has signed on to be coach of Great Miami Rowing. PROVIDED
Marc Oria, originally from Spain, has signed on to be coach of Great Miami Rowing. PROVIDED

Leaders of Great Miami Rowing said they are pleased to not only have a new rowing leader who coached Olympians, but also who brings the rowing-club concept from his native Spain to Butler County.

Marc Oria the new head coach of the Great Miami Crew youth race team, rowed for Catalunya and the Spanish National Team. He later coached athletes on those teams, as well as finalists at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. Most recently, he was head coach of the University of Cincinnati women’s varsity team.

“We’re incredibly excited,” said Mimi Rasor, past board president of the Great Miami Rowing Center and now a board member.

Oria “is so high-caliber, we were blown away that he was right here in our market,” she said.

“He’s a neuroscience researcher at at Cincinnati Children’s (Hospital Medical Center),” she said of the Loveland resident. “We’ve been working so hard for so long. Now, he’s fallen in our lap.”

Oria grew up rowing with the Reial Club Maritim de Barcelona club. He earned his Ph.D. in neuroscience from the Autonomous University of Barcelona.

European rowing clubs are different than in America. Such clubs, like the one where Oria met his wife, are places where families socialize and hang out. Oria wants Great Miami Rowing to be like that.

He wants it to be “more than a warehouse where you go work out your teenager,” said Kristen Riekert, co-president of the organization’s board. Instead, it can be a place for families with classes throughout the day, cardio-rowing, adult rowing for older adults and classes for young children, she said.

“That’s his vision, and we certainly wouldn’t be opposed to that,” Riekert said.

“We’re in recruitment mode now to build the team,” Rasor said. “We have nine high schools with roughly 15,000 students within a 12-mile radius of Hamilton, so we know we have tremendous opportunity.”

ExploreFrom 2016: Rowing crews get feel of ‘flying’ on Great Miami River

The club hopes to recruit a good number of “really-tired-of-being-in-the-house” teens and adults, club leaders said. Helping with safety during the pandemic, one of the master’s rowers with the club has his master’s degree in public health, and he wrote the safety protocols, which follows not only U.S. Rowing standards, but also those of Ohio and the NCAA.

Teams are open to anyone 12 and older. One master’s participant is in his mid 70s.

Go to the website, greatmiamirowing.com, to register for the winter and spring seasons, or call 513-857-2494. The spring season starts March 1. People can ask any questions by email.

The Hamilton Community Foundation recently provided $15,000 so the club can provide rowing scholarships to those with financial need.

US Rowing recently announced Oria was among three-dozen who recently earned the prestigious Level 3 coaching certification.

“The team, parents, and board have all been very welcoming of me,” Oria said. “I’m really looking forward to getting to know the athletes and to understand their goals as both a team and individuals so we can build a successful program.”

Last winter, the club trained at Hamilton High School, but because of the pandemic, schools have limited such activities. This year they are training at Elite Performance & Wellness, at 190 N. Brookwood Ave. in Hamilton.

“If you’re a parent, you’re obviously going to be really careful and choosy about who you let build into your children,” Riekert said. “And unequivocally, I would want Marc building into my kid.”

“He is going to set a path, not just in a sport, for kind-of ‘good-human-ing’, hard work, discipline, kindness, sort of all the things you want a teacher for your kids to be,” she said. “It was just unbelievable to me how gifted a coach he is.”

The club has been fortunate in another way. After somebody stole a johnboat, the community contributed more than $4,500, which will more than pay for a replacement.

In Other News